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>> These men are just a few of the Vietnamese immigrants the Trump White House has deported back from the United States, despite a promise America would never send them back. They fled Vietnam over 25 years ago after the end of the Vietnam War, but now Trump is pushing to deport immigrants convicted of crimes.
Pham Chi Cuong served 18 months in jail on charges of battery. He never became a citizen. He went to America legally. He said he stayed out of trouble for years and put his son through college, then he found himself on a plane to Vietnam.>> My daughter is crying, my son is crying and my wife also.
>> Cuong and other men told me they spent the 17 hour flight back to Vietnam, they were forced to stay silent, with their hands and legs restrained. I'm James Pearson in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon and the capital of South Vietnam, both before and during the Vietnam War.
I've been speaking to some of the immigrants who've already been sent back here. They tell me that when they first arrived they had no jobs, no money, and one of them is even being accused of spying by the Vietnamese government. Some of them left here not long after North Vietnam won the war.
The country they've returned to is very different and ostensibly communist. There are some 8,000-odd Vietnamese who US immigration and customs enforcement say are subject to deportation. ICE also says over 7,800 of them have criminal convictions. They've been sent back in spite of a 2008 agreement between Vietnam and the US that said Vietnamese immigrants who arrived in the states before 1995 would not be sent back.
Some of them were supporters of the former US-backed government of South Vietnam during the war, and feared reprisals after the communists took over the whole country. Legal experts I spoke to are accusing the Trump administration of being completely reckless with people's lives.>> Right now it's like open season.
If you came in 79, if you came in 75, it doesn't matter.>> The deportees have arrived in a country with no lives to call their own. Most have few prospects. And it's hard to say if they'll build a new one here.>> If you asked me, did you want to come back to.
I give you the answer, yes. But I don't know how.